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Consuming Women (Women as Consumers)

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Consuming Women (Women as Consumers)

Published ca. 1967

Strange, highly generalized portrait of the American woman consumer.

Run time 3:25
Producer Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor Procter & Gamble
Audio/Visual Sd, C


"Here she is. She is single and fun-loving. She is engaged. She is newly married. And not so newly married. She has no children. She has one child. She has many children. She even has grandchildren. She may be exclusively a homemaker. Or she may hold a part-time job. Or she works in an office full-time. She enjoys her leisure time. She participates in community affairs. She's athletic, to a degree. She travels. And she spends money. In any case, our consumer is a real person, one of a large group of individuals that make up our consumer world."

A Prism shot
The light fades up on a model-type woman walking confidently towards the camera, wearing a polkadot dress and carrying a purse
A woman dancing to rock n'roll music, wearing a yellow dress with a yellow scarf
A dramatic embrace -- the back of a man wearing a suit and the face of a smiling woman, hair swinging freely.
A woman in a wedding gown with a bouquet of flowers, she tosses them out in front of her.
A woman with gray hair sitting in a rocking chair with an empty rocking chair next to her.
Woman plays with a child in a crib, many children start running around them and the woman looks alarmed.
Woman at a desk, typing.
Woman with a gavel at a podium, she goes to knock the gavel and drops it.
Woman with a bowling ball, looks disappointed after taking her turn.
Woman trying to flag down a taxi.
Woman counting out money, receives a wrapped box with a bow, she looks upset.

Women Gender roles Consumerism Consumption Late 1960s fashion


Reviewer: ERD. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 15, 2008
Subject: Cute for its time
For 1967, COMSUMING WOMEN does a good job in the short time alloted.
Reviewer: pheret - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 12, 2008
Subject: women as consumers
yes, it is sexist, etc., etc., but it has it's funny moments which a lot of these don't! watch her expressions . . . as a bride i actually lol!
Reviewer: Robot Mike - favorite - April 1, 2006
Subject: Hear that ladies? We're athletic! --to a certain degree...
This film attempts to show the various roles women play in society. Here, women are portrayed as naiive, incapable, and overwhelmed. (Check out when the actress hands the cashier her money--"What is this green papery substance?" she seems to wonder.)

Keep moving, keep moving--nothing to see here.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 26, 2005
Subject: Not a Cookbook, Fortunately
This looks like an excerpt from a longer 60s film aimed at marketing professionals which attempts to profile the Âaverage woman. A pretty but generic-looking model poses in various female roles, such as single women, wife, mother, secretary or little old lady, while the narrator tells us that Âshe is all of those things, but mostly, ÂsheÂs a real person. However, the female depictions shown are incredibly stereotyped and fake, leaving you with the impression that though the marketers of the time were trying to understand the needs and desires of women, they were horribly failing. The film ends with a bizarre sequence of the woman spending a lot of money for a gold-wrapped package, then looking horribly sad, which is an ironic image for a film supposedly showing women as consumers. I wish the whole film was availableÂÂit looks priceless.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Karma Hawk - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 4, 2005
Subject: Profiling Women
In this bizzare and very basic film we're shown an actress playing various rolls. (Single,Maried with One Kid, with several kids.) You would think given the title and description of this piece that the film would instruct sales people at how to target women as consumers, you'd be wrong though this just explains and shows the various types of roles women play in our society. Spuzz mentions that it might be part of a longer film, which I suspect it most likely is but secratly I hope it's not. If it was part of a longer movie well that would kind of be a buzzkill. Recomended.
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 20, 2004
Subject: Selling to the Sixties Woman
ÃÂWomen as ConsumersÃÂ reflects the fact that both the filmmaker and the culture at large were at a loss in how to deal with the social changes of the sixties. A young woman acts out various female rolesÃÂsingle, in love, married, grandmother, worker, traveler and finally consumer against vague, colorful backgrounds. As in so many of these films, we never hear her speak and her actions seem to be dictated by the voice of a male announcer. As the previous reviewers write, this is a Jam Handy film. HandyÃÂs technical skill gives his films a surreal qualityÃÂtheir slickness inevitably underscores their underlying banality. Their complete lack of irony gives them a mesmerizing qualityÃÂwatching his films is like entering a parallel universe. But here heÃÂs even more unmoored than usual. If this film had been made ten (or even five) years earlier, the actress in this film would have been more anchored and the film would have had more of a documentary quality. The film wonders how to sell products to this new, bewildering apparition of a woman and has no answers. After looking at these unreal images the announcer tells us, ÃÂOur consumer is a real person.ÃÂ We see the woman, dissatisfied with her purchase walking off in disappointment. Reviewer Lewis Payne points out that itÃÂs a strange ending to a film extolling consumerism. Like another film in the Archive, ÃÂDesign for Buying,ÃÂ which ends on a road that leads nowhere, this film also ends with the message that mindless consumption can only lead to disillusionment and emptiness. Maybe it is ironic after all.
Reviewer: organon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 5, 2003
Subject: Wow
This is sure odd-ball. THe dance scene near the beginning is farm-out,man.How strange at the end, when the actress purchases a package only to walk away shaking her head and frowning. What is up with THAT?!
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavorite - April 10, 2003
Subject: Um, that's it?
I think this might be a fragment(s) of an actual movie. It sure seems bizarre though, as none of it really makes sense. What is shown though, is that women, really are good for nothing.
Reviewer: EWKEANE - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 8, 2003
Subject: Jamison Handy strikes again
This film presents a sort of hyperview model of "woman consumer" It is quite obvious that the camera takes a pittiless view of the "woman consumer", that object that is many things, but most importantly, a commercial function that is "consumer" that has "money". Although the production looks like it was made in a small televison studio, that it is in fact a production of the highest quality.This is a hallmark of a jamison handy film, to use cleches and architypes,and to put a point across in stark,simple terms. The quality of the internet image is degraded due to abuse. I would like to see an archive quality version of this film sometime. This film is shocking in that the woman consumer has been reduced to seeming architypes, however, what is even more shocking is that the architypes may be too true.
Reviewer: Lewis Payne - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 12, 2003
Subject: Brilliantly surreal
Obviously a promo film selling women as consumers to advertisers, this title-less, product-less commercial goes through the various demographic types a potential female customer might be. The various scenes are played very over-the-top by the same actress, but a strangely paradoxical ending comes when she is finally shown as the film's ideal - handing over money to an out-of-shot person, and being given a gift-wrapped item. She walks toward the camera looking at the ground and wearing a saddened, almost disillusioned face; a strange look for a consumer in a consumerist short.
Reviewer: Holly Daggers - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 22, 2002
Subject: Hilarious and stylized female stereotypes
This short film is an over-produced commercial in search of a product. A single actress plays out silly vigniettes of womanhood (cooking, motherhood, being a secretary, falling in love) against a minimal soundstage set of solid-color backdrops. The actress hams shamelessly while the male narrator announces each stereotype in a booming "announcer voice". If this were a late-night commercial it would be legendary, but because there is apparently no specific product it becomes a strange, highly iconic yet meaningless string of short skits. Production quality is unjustifiably high (like most of the Handy Jam films) adding a surrealist touch to this campy gem.
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